The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its five office bearers to remove tweets, re-tweets, hashtags, videos of press conferences/interviews, comments, captions and taglines against Lt Governor Vinay Kumar Saxena related to allegations. Gave. The corruption and money laundering case, believing that they were made “recklessly, without any factual verification” to tarnish LG’s reputation.
Saxena had on Thursday approached the Delhi High Court seeking interim injunction blocking you and its members By publishing, commenting on or releasing any information to the public through tweets, articles and interviews or in any other manner in connection with the allegations of corruption and money laundering made against them.
The lieutenant governor has filed a defamation suit against the party and its five members – Atishi, Durgesh Pathak, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Jasmine Shah and Sanjay Singh, alleging that the defendants have launched a series of scathing and combative personal attacks against the LG. has started. employing certain adjectives to refer to the plaintiff, which includes abusive words like thief and broker” while alleging that he had “involved in corruption and money laundering to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore during demonetisation” while holding the post of Chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. were involved. ,
The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants have sensationalized the issue by circulating hashtags like “LG Saxena ko Arrest Karo ‘LG Saxena Chor Hai’, which indicates a pre-planned conspiracy, maligning the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff. Is”.
The plaintiffs also alleged that the party and its members have used mainstream news media to launch retaliatory attacks on them as well as share tweets and videos in the form of interviews and press conferences on social media.
The Single Bench of Justice Amit Bansal, while deciding on the application for interim injunction, in its order referred to the screenshots of the tweets/re-tweets of the defendants submitted by the plaintiffs, in which the defendants had tweeted that “plaintiff has assigned a contract 80,00,000,000/- (Rs 80 crore) to his daughter, while he was the Chairman of KVIC, along with a photograph of the plaintiff and his daughter.
While deciding on Saxena’s application, the court referred to the provision of free speech given in Article 19 of the Constitution. It states, “Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution grants all persons the right to freedom of speech and expression. However, it is subject to restrictions under Article 19(2), including defamation. Therefore, the right to freedom of speech and expression is not an absolute right, under the guise of which defamatory statements can be made to tarnish the reputation of an individual. The fundamental right to freedom of expression is balanced with the right to a person’s reputation. which has been considered as a fundamental element of the right to life in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
With regard to allegations of corruption against the Lieutenant Governor at the time of demonetisation, the court observed that the statements made by the defendants are “absolutely baseless.” The court further observed that the said “statements are purely based on rumours… Further, the subject matter of the above statement amounting to Rs.17,00,000/- has been exaggerated several times by the respondents. Rs. 1,400,00,00,000/- (Rs. 1,400 crore).
The court further said that AAP and its office bearers have made “baseless allegations that a notional amount of Rs.80,00,00,000/- (Rs.80 crore) has been paid to the daughter of the plaintiff.” It said that there was no material on record to substantiate the said statement.
While deciding the application for an interim injunction in favor of Saxena, the court observed, “… prima facie, the various statements/interviews/press conferences/tweet/re-tweet/hashtag made by the respondents are defamatory per se It has been done in a negligent manner without any factual verification to tarnish the reputation of the plaintiff. cannot be done.
The court said that the damage to a person’s reputation on the Internet is immediate and far-reaching. “As long as the disputed material remains in circulation and appears on social media, there is likely to be continued damage to the reputation and image of the plaintiff. The balance of convenience is in favor of the plaintiff and against that of the defendants. Reputation of the plaintiff will cause serious and irreparable damage and injury to the plaintiff if the above defamatory material continues to exist on the Internet and on the social media platforms of defendants no. Statement.”
The court further directed that the interim injunction shall be passed on the conditions laid down as under: “(i) restrain the respondent No. 1 to 6 from posting any defamatory or factually incorrect tweet, re-tweet, hashtag, video of press conference goes. /interviews, comments, captions and taglines against the plaintiff and/or his daughter in any manner whatsoever, which are in the nature of the material set forth in the plaintiff.
(ii) Respondent No. 1 to 6 is directed to remove/remove all defamatory or factually incorrect tweets, re-tweets, hashtags, press conference/interview videos, comments, captions and taglines against Plaintiff and/or him/her. Is. daughter published on the social media platforms of Respondent No. 7 and 8, as given in documents 10 to 13 of the documents filed by the plaintiff, and any other allegation, hashtags, videos of press conferences/interviews, posts, Tweet, re-tweet, comment, caption and similar taglines.
The High Court further held that if the parties and the respondent office bearers fail to comply with the aforesaid directions within 48 hours of the judgment, then Respondents 7 and 8 (Twitter and YouTube) are directed to remove the hashtag as prescribed. has gone. Documents submitted by plaintiffs and tweets, re-tweets and videos published on social media platforms of respondent no. 7 and 8, URLs set out in documents filed by plaintiff as well as other allegations, as per hashtag, press conference/interview, post Videos of tweets, re-tweets, comments, captions and similar taglines that appear in the plaintiffs.
Issuing notices on the suit, the court directed the defendants to file their reply and listed the matter before the court on February 6, 2023.